Adventures, Camp Different, Camping, Why we camp

Why We Camp #10 – Campfire Tales & Aliens

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I am not much of a story teller. It is clear to me that if I had grown up in Texas that I would be better at spinning a tale, telling a yarn. It is clear in many conversations that I do not fit in here. I gloss right over the weather, the kids, the Astros and the flying roaches and ask my question or order my dish. That is just wrong for here. Too direct by far. I sound like I am from the East. I am from the East. I am a proud and sometimes almost rude Philadelphia fan. I am not the best example of an easterner as I am not particularly garrulous. My wife blends in better and we ascribe it to her being born in the South.

I stink at telling jokes too. I think that is a family trait but maybe some family member will read this and get back to me. I cannot remember jokes except a few quite shocking ones that I cannot repeat here or anywhere. I wish I could unhear them. I sometimes like hearing jokes but generally like the long forms of comedy.

I love stories. I would rather read fiction than work. (I might rather read stories than listen to them) “Storia” in Italian means both story and history. I like that. It is true. All that – stories – gets back to meaningful escapes and camping. Meaningful escapes are about both losing oneself and creating sharable memories, to get lost with someone else. My architecture life, making buildings, my space life, making machines livable and my TAXA life, all make sense if I think of them as all making containers for stories to happen in. There are different ways to tell stories. Words, music, design ……

I want to read your stories! Why arent you all blogging?


We, the family plus a neice, went to see Weezer this weekend. Cool. Alien. New. We went backstage. We watched from the wing (cool spot, bad sound) and our bodies shook from the bass. We went in front to actually hear music.  I have a connection. Scott and his wife Jillian are friends of mine. Jillian writes books. Scott plays bass. We all have kids. One of mine plays the bass. THEY have a tour bus and more tattoos than I do. My kids did not mention wanting to trade parents but it is not impossible that they thought it. Meaningful escape? For me yes. I got to see friends. I got to hear music. Loud music allows me to simply be, quiets my brain. Camping does too. For them? They said thanks but I have not heard the meory as a story yet. I hope to.

The NYTimes has a story about aliens – that statistically it is likely that there HAVE been aliens, just perhaps not contemporaneous with us. Maybe I should have been an archaeologist. I like the word alien. I like the word alien because when working at NASA it became screamingly obvious that we were working hard to become aliens ourselves – go off in to space and be the ‘new’ ones, the ones that don’t quite fit (or really do not fit). It is vital to walk in other’s shoes, to try on their viewpoints and to learn; to learn empathy, to learn interesting things, to learn about yourself, to get out of your own small head and small environs and SEE.

Try the SETI screensaver to see if you can help find an alien and make them welcome. Maybe they can tell jokes.

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I hope there are aliens. Contemporaneous with us. I hope I get to meet some. I hope someone else tells the story. I want to design the building.

We do not have to to space or even camping to find these aliens. They are your neighbors and friends and kids.

Some of them though are salamanders.

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